Social media did a full turn of the screw in recent times and along the way created a new paradigm for product marketing.
Social media commerce is a simple model. Branding your product or service via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, Foursquare or the blogosphere…wherever big numbers of Internet users congregate in cyberspace.
Making savvy use of social media means making money for any business.
Hundreds of public relation firms have expert social media teams available for companies with a good promotions budget. Yet most small businesses could do their own with respectable results.
“Some 84 percent of business to business marketers use social media in some form and the majority of marketers are using social media for six hours or more each week,” according to Chatter Buzz Media, a digital marketing firm in Florida.
But, is not really about sale, rather about awareness. Strategies vary according to place, business model, product or corporate culture, yet the basics are all the same for most situations.
The staples of social media is accumulating as many daily postings as possible with the resulting stack up of “likes,” ”friends,” “followers,” and “fans.”
Awareness is the key
The gist of a successful social media marketing campaign is creating good brand awareness.
Using a real life example, if someone wants to be known as the neighborhood Samaritan, that person would do garage sales for charity, go to community meetings and request donations, state his aims during family or social gatherings, hand out leaflets for communal causes and act out the role of a soul in service of humanity. If he is constant and honest with his humanitarian ideals, he will create an image of a credible village philanthropist.
The person has branded himself well as a social do-gooder. All with patience and consistency of message and above all, a utilitarian purpose in life.
The analogy can then be easily extrapolated to business social media marketing.
By placing your product or service out there in the digital social sphere — constantly and in an educational manner — internauts will soon perk up their ears and listen.
The key to it all? Do not put forth a message of promotional overtones or a cloaked sales spiel, but rather as a remedy to solve a human problem. Serve content that will help to build a relationship with future customers. Blogs and digital newsletters are the best tools.
No time for blogging? Then tweet or create a simple Facebook page, full of sound advice, helpful tips, informative text and visuals. Tweet every so often with a solution to a problem trending in the cyber universe about your type of business. Twitter has a tool to tell you when this is happening.
Become a true content philanthropist, helping others to help themselves. In the long run, you create a brand image for your services or product that people will re-tweet and “like,” much the same way as the local do-gooder has branded himself all over town as useful community individual.
Got it? Hope so. If not, here are a few more tips about social media branding strategy.
Simply tricks of the trade
As the village do-gooder moves about visiting fairs, benefit events, bingo rallies and school raffles, the Web savvy business person hangs out in pertinent forums, visits relevant blogs and explores LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter pages to put forth his helpful hints or informative content. In the process, you attract incoming links to your website. The experts call it “social bookmarking,” in Internet marketing jargon.
This is basically posting your comments and content on popular social networks with a linked address attached to it. This will help in getting your brand so well noted, that Web users will link to your information, i.e., bookmarking your content.
Hundreds of thousands of Internet users surf the Web daily, looking for advise about a specific problem. Put your helpful content out there and soon you will have a network of grateful followers. Soon, bookmarking and information sharing sites such as Stumbleupon, Delicious and Hotlinks will eventually tag your content and put your pages in their directories.
To summarize, increase your brand awareness by writing useful content about your products or services at places where your potential customers might be lurking. This will let your readers cultivate a brand following of your business.
It’s a slow, very patient process. Case studies do show it works.